Interesting 2011

Roo Reynolds has written a very comprehensive summary of what went down at Interesting 2011 yesterday, but here are my favourite bits:

1. Stanley James Press got us stitching together our own notebooks in a few minutes. They provided the basic materials, including needle and thread. This is what went into getting the materials together:

Interesting 2011 Notebook Making Preperation from Curtis James on Vimeo.

and this is what my finished notebook looked like.

2. Leila organised Hack Circus, a collection of very geeky cool performances. I really enjoyed Mark Hibbet‘s guitar act, especially that of Hey Hey 16K, which will make you laugh as you remember the days before the internet when the computer was used to do basic stuff like – erm – adding numbers up. Here it is:

3. I now have a very strong desire to visit the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, who had a lot of instruments and machines running during the day, especially the ASR-33 teletype.

4. Timmy Printface is right up there with Bubblino and the Tweeture as one of my favourite digital-enabled analog things.

5. I realised I should have played with plasticine more as a child. My creation was not even a quarter as good as some of the works of art created during the day.

6. Chris Heathcote’s molecular gastronomy session reminded me a bit of the Heston Blumenthal talk I went to recently, but I really appreciated and enjoyed it because of the passion he clearly has for the subject, as well as the effort that must have gone into obtaining samples of things as uncommon as sodium benzoate, tomato caviar and of course miracle fruit, the last of which essentially meant that the wine I had during lunch tasted like juice (it turns sour things sweet!). Excellent session.

7. I wish I’d had someone as inspiring as Alby Reid as my science teacher at school. He got us putting together mousetraps and placing ping-pong balls on them to illustrate how nuclear fission happens. This was the result:

Paul Downey has shot a video of it from a super close angle here.

Great job, Russell Davies and team.

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